University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Administrative Policy Statement
33.1



User Fee Approval Policy

(Approved by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs by authority of Executive Order No. 4)



1.  Overview

The University of Washington, in carrying out its instruction, research, and public service mission, receives funds from many sources and levies a number of fees or charges on a wide range of users. Fees are generally charged to recover costs, either partially or fully, or to ration or control the demand for services. Fees are charged to students, to programs, and to the general public. The purpose of this document is to present the policies and procedures which govern the review and approval of fees and charges at the University of Washington. It does not encompass internal recharges from one program or department to another.

The Board of Regents has the authority to assess the following types of fees:

  • Tuition fees;
  • Services and activities fees;
  • Technology fees; and
  • "Other fees as such Board shall in its discretion determine."

The Board of Regents has retained authority for review and approval of certain fees and has delegated authority for review and approval of other fees to the President who, in turn, may delegate review and approval to others.

2.  Fees Approved by the Board of Regents

The Board of Regents retains final authority to review and approve all fees and policies governing fees charged to students for degree credit instruction, or where considerations of policy, shared authority, and political sensitivity warrant Board of Regents approval. The President shall present recommendations to establish or modify such fees or fee policies to the appropriate committee of the Board of Regents. The following user fees are included in this category:

  a. Academic Year Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for the academic year, including student services and activities fees and student technology fees, must be approved by the Board of Regents.

  b. Summer Quarter Tuition and Fees

Summer Quarter tuition and fees, including student services and activities fees and student technology fees, must be approved by the Board of Regents.

  c. Other Fees Intended to Cover Instructional Costs

Course-related fees that are intended to cover, in whole or in part, instructional costs must be approved by the Board of Regents. In this context, the term "instructional costs" is defined as faculty or teaching assistant time. Laboratory and course fees can be used to recover other course related expenses in accordance with Section 5 below.

  d. Residence Hall and Family Housing Rates

Residence hall and family housing rates and parking fees must be approved by the Board of Regents.

  e. Other Fees

The review and approval of all other fees is delegated by the Board of Regents to the President, who, in turn, delegates such review and approval as prescribed in the following sections.

3.  Fees Approved by the President

The President, acting upon recommendations from the University Budget Committee, may impose University-wide fees and charges to recover costs fully or partially, or to ration services. Such fees and charges include the following: student application and registration fees, including fees for change of registration, late registration, registration while on leave, thesis and dissertation publication.

4.  Fees Approved by the Provost

The President delegates to the Provost the review and approval of fees and fee policies for degree credit programs not within the state-funded enrollment contract which are expected, as a matter of policy, to recover their full or direct costs.

The President delegates to the Provost the review and approval of any course fee proposed by a dean or vice president that is greater than $50 per quarter. The guidelines for what costs are eligible for inclusion in a course fee greater than $50 per quarter are the same as those listed in Section 5.

The President delegates to the Provost the review and approval of any other instructional related fee of any amount that is proposed to be charged to students entering particular majors or programs rather than to students in particular courses. The term "instructional related fee" is meant to include fees for either services a student must receive to be eligible to participate in a particular program (for example, immunizations for students who are performing clinical work in a hospital setting) or for materials students must purchase to participate in a program (for example, dental kits for dentistry students). The guidelines for what costs are eligible for inclusion in an instructional related fee charged to students entering particular majors or programs are the same as those listed in Section 5.

5.  Fees Approved by the Deans and Vice Presidents

The President delegates the review and approval of those fees and charges not covered in Sections 24 above to deans and vice presidents as set forth below, provided that such review includes consultation with affected students and faculty (all such fees and charges must conform to Office of Planning and Budgeting guidelines; see Section 6).

  a. Course Fees Charged to Students

    Course fees charged to students must be implemented in a manner consistent with the requirements specified below:

    #1 Course fees are additional charges to students that are intended to pay for specified course-related costs.

    #2 Course fees approved by a dean or vice president must be $50 per quarter or less.

    #3 Course fees may be used for materials, supplies, and equipment, as well as non-personnel costs associated with field trips, technology, and related costs of set-up, maintenance, and cleaning for materials, supplies, and equipment.

    #4 Course fees may be used for tangible resources that are utilized to different degrees in multiple courses (for example, the slide collection in the Art Department).

    #5 Course fees may be used for personnel costs other than faculty and teaching assistant time that are related to a particular course offering (for example, part of the cost of a laboratory technician supporting a chemistry lab could be recovered through a course fee).

    #6 Course fees may not be used to pay for standard instructional salary costs (i.e., faculty and teaching assistant time) except where the student is receiving and paying for individualized instruction/tutoring.

    #7 The revenue generated from course fees must be used to directly support specific course offerings.

    #8 Colleges and schools should establish procedures for obtaining student input on proposed new course fees. Colleges and schools can either consult with existing student organizations in the respective college or provide information to the ASUW course fee committee.

    #9 Department chairs should consult with faculty in the affected department when new course fees are proposed.

    #10 Income from course fees must be used as intended and recorded in departmental income accounts.

    #11 Students in the affected department must be notified at least 30 days prior to the implementation of any new course fees. When new fees are implemented, every effort should be made to notify students prior to the start of Autumn Quarter so that students can incorporate estimated expenses into their financial planning.

    #12 If students have questions about the purpose or level of a particular course fee, questions should first be directed to the chair of the department offering the course in question. If there are still questions after a conversation with the chair of the department, questions should then be addressed to the dean's office of the college. If there are still questions after a conversation with the dean's office of the college, students may request that the Office of Planning and Budgeting review the course fee in question.

    #13 In complying with Section 6.f of this policy, reports of these fees shall be kept by the Office of the Registrar using the online registration system which will be available for students considering registering for the affected courses. This system will provide brief information about the purpose of particular course fees (such as "laboratory materials and equipment" or "individualized instruction").  Colleges and schools need to provide the Office of the Registrar with the information needed for this documentation to be available to students online.

    #14 Colleges and schools shall review departmental course fees every four years on a rotating basis. A summary of these departmental course fee reviews shall be provided to both the Office of Planning and Budgeting and to the ASUW course fee committee (for the Seattle campus) or the ASUW/Bothell or ASUW/Tacoma student groups on the Bothell and Tacoma campuses. At the beginning of each academic year, the Office of Planning and Budgeting will consult with deans and establish the list of departments for which course fees will be reviewed in that academic year.

    #15 Once a course fee has been established, future increases in the fee are limited by Initiative 601 fee increase limitations.

  b. All Fees and Charges Intended to Ration Services

    All fees and charges which are intended to ration services or to compel compliance with regulations can be approved by deans and vice presidents as long as the scope of the fee affects only those programs and students within their designated areas of responsibility. Examples of such fees include charges for library book replacement or a late return fee for chemistry supplies.

  c. All Fees and Charges Necessary to Recover in Full or in Part the Costs of Continuing Education

    All fees and charges necessary to recover in full or in part the costs of continuing education, performing arts, auxiliary educational activities, and other auxiliary enterprises and self-sustaining programs which provide services to students, other campus programs, or the general public can be approved by deans and vice presidents. Ticket prices for arts and athletic events are included in this category. In accordance with the existing Recharge and Cost Center Rate Policy, fees and charges of campus recharge centers must be approved by the Management Accounting and Analysis Office. Deans and vice presidents may delegate the authority to approve fees and charges covered by this section to directors and department heads.

6.  Implementation Guidelines

The User Fee Approval Policy requires that fees for which approval was delegated to deans and vice presidents conform to Budget Office guidelines. The following guidelines apply:

  a. Fees Charged to Other University Departments

Fees charged to other University departments (by the Cost Transfer Invoice (CTI) form, or Journal Voucher form) must be set to recover not more than the cost of the goods or services provided, including applicable departmental overhead costs. Fees charged by University recharge centers must be approved by the Management Accounting and Analysis Office before being implemented or changed as required by the Recharge and Cost Center Rate Policy.

  b. Fees Charged to University Employees and Students

Fees charged to University employees and students must be set to recover not more than the cost of the goods or services provided, including applicable departmental and University-wide overhead costs.

  c. Fees Charged to Outside Users

Fees charged to outside users must be set to recover at least the cost of the goods or services provided, including applicable departmental and University-wide overhead costs. Any University subsidy of operations which sells goods or services to outside users must be approved by the Provost.

  d. Self-Sustaining Accounts

The fees discussed in Section 5 must be deposited in self-sustaining budgets specifically designated for that purpose. These budgets are identified by either the first two digits (14, 15, 16, 19, and 25 are self-sustaining) or the middle two digits (93 or 96 are self-sustaining). Either criterion is sufficient to identify a self-sustaining budget. All expenditures associated with providing the goods or services applicable to the fee may be charged to the self-sustaining account.

The self-sustaining accounts are not intended for the accumulation of large surpluses or deficits. Deans and vice presidents are responsible for reducing excessive surpluses and for eliminating deficits, normally within one year of the time the deficit occurs, using state or discretionary funds if necessary.

  e. New Fees Involving the Sales of Goods and Services

New fees involving the sales of goods and services (which includes all fees which may be approved by deans and vice presidents) must comply with the "Policy of Sales of Goods and Services" (see Administrative Policy Statement 59.5). Documentation of the sales policy review and approval or evidence of a sales policy exemption must be provided to the Budget Office when requesting a new self-sustaining budget which will receive revenue.

  f. The Office of Planning and Budgeting Will Maintain a Database

The Office of Planning and Budgeting in conjunction with the Office of the Registrar will maintain a database of all course fees approved by the Board of Regents, deans and vice presidents, and others to whom they delegate fee approval authority. New fees or changes in existing fees of the type included in the database must be reported to the Office of Planning and Budgeting. Biennially, and more often if necessary, an inventory of these fees will be distributed to the Board of Regents, deans, and vice presidents for updating.

7.  Policy Administration and Interpretation

The President designates the Provost to administer and interpret these policies and procedures and to recommend, through the University Budget Committee to the President, any revisions and modifications thereto.

July 1988; February 15, 2006.